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Member 40 posts
Posted 3 years ago
I haven't been on here for a while, I just wondered how you are getting on?
Member 3 posts
My adult daughter is suffering from bulimia. She says she has it partly because I did not support her enough when she was pregnant. She texts me when she has binged on pizzas and again when she is being sick. I know she is ill. but I feel she is using her illness against me. Does anyone else have this problem and if so, is there a way to deal with it.
It sounds as if your daughter is struggling and maybe because you are close to her and she knows that you will be there for her so maybe she feels that she can off load some of those feelings that she is finding it difficult to cope with. My adult child was very tough on me particularly when she was in the depths on her eating disorder. I did my best not to take her words to heart in front of her even when they cut me to the bone. I would go off and cry out of sight as I didn't want her to see that her words were having an effect. As she recovered she became very much nicer and in time she did apologise for some of her harsh words. I realised as the illness carried on that as horrible as she was being to me she was 10 times more unforgiving of herself. So I ducked the words and tried not to let them stick. My daughter is now well recovered and she has told me that she can hardly remember what she did or said when she was ill. You do not say whether your daughter is receiving treatment, I would suggest that she should be referred to the Eating Disorder team in your area by your doctor. Hope things get better for you both
Posted 2 years ago
thank you for sharing the unpleasant interactions between daughter and parent.
I am experiencing similar types of conversations.
I think i feel so helpless because I do not know the proper language or skills to communicate with my daughter who has bulimia.
She seems more comfortable being in the fight or flight syndrome. Blaming me for her stress and anxiety. Calling me a fear monger and saying she doesn't trust me.
What is that all about? Her being so defensive and objecting so hard to my suggestions about getting help?
Does anyone know the proper way to communicate with someone with an eating disorder?
I never learned this in parent school.
Admin 220 posts
Dear Violet, I totally agree this bit of parenting is a shock and a not very nice experience. When I was a child and naughty I could tell when I was about to get told off and probably due to the amount of war films on TV in the 60s I used to say to myself DIVE DIVE DIVE and so not listen to a word that my poor mum was saying.
Fast forward the years I am the mum, and again I didn't want to hear what my daughter was saying, so although I actually did sort of listen I tried to filter it and let the negatives go over my head, that is the horrible bits the accusation, blame and disgust. After that she would be penitent or maybe just a bit less angry and then I could talk to her.
In time I leant that the anger at she felt was meant for the world, for being ill, for thinking that she was fat, for having an ed for being full of fear and because she knew she could she passed it on to me, she would tell me that it was my fault. I just put my armour up. I tried to give her nothing back emotionallyat all when she was horrible because if I did she would laugh coldly and call me pathetic
Her anger seemed to come in waves, and usually when she felt vulnerable. it would never work just saying sit down lets talk about it, so we would do something together and then she would relent a bit and maybe talk a bit more nicely. In time and with weight restoration the anger subsided and she would talk and discuss. It does feel very one sided because when they want to talk it is important to be there, but I found listening to what she was really saying and then saying it back to her, was very important Your daughter is frightened and fearful. Parents who have never had to go through this will not understand but the old rule books have to change, hope that helps a bit x
I cannot tell you how much your kind reply has given me a sense of hope and serenity. I so appreciate you getting back to me.
I completely relate to the exaggerated emotions and angry moods, and unpleasant discussions with a supposed "loved one.".
At this point, my daughter and I do not do well with verbal conversations. They can start off OK, but then there is baiting, manipulation, passive aggression and things deteriorate quickly.
That is why I am reaching out for help to learn if there are any strategies or techniques for building productive conversations (with an adult w/ bulimia).
Most of the time I hear her complaining about her "feelings", her stress, her anxiety and panic attacks. She makes me feel like I contribute to this and make things worse. I haven't been a good listener because she gets herself into the "fight & flight" syndrome, and the reptillian brain is talking instead of the mature brain.
Her preferred form of communication is texting. Which I don't like, but I am willing to use it until she is ready to have an adult conversation.
She is 23 years old, fairly intelligent and defensive. She has a full time job.
The interactions are probably different than dealing with teenagers.
We think she should see a doctor and have a test done to check her esophogus and digestive system. She went to the emergency room at hospital at 3am. Uncontrolled vomiting and blood too.
Both husband and I are walking on eggshells and have no clue what language or tone of voice to use to suggest a medical visit.
We're afraid she will have a meltdown.
Of course, this is her ED, running the show and controlling everybody in the family.
I wish I knew a way to get through to her authentic self. I don't want to have conversations with her disease.
Thanks for allowing me to rant.
I am so grateful to hear from you. I have a sense of relief at having heard your story. I feel like I am not alone.
Blessings and hugs,
Hi Violet, I think that your daughter really does need to be seen especially if she is vomiting blood. I do appreciate the problem of getting her to the doctor. Walking on eggshells is such an apt description for anyone who is caring for someone with an eating disorder and it is important to keep things calm so that you can keep the channels of communication open. But at the same time there is a need for some tough love, (I was always pretty hopeless at this), Its really about being clear about what you expect from her, she will be cross, she may well scream but she needs to be under the care of the GP and hopefully the eating disorder team as bulimia often goes unnoticed but the potential for damage is still there. As I went aong I learnt that she would resent me making demands but at the same time she was relieved, because despite all the shouts screams etc. she didn't really want to be in that space, she was being held hostage by the illness, she was in a dark frightened place and a bit of her was relieved that I was trying to help her. Best of luck
Thank you for your very kind and thoughtful response. It was particularly helpful to be reminded that, however bad she made you feel, she was feeling ten times worse. I am trying to get her to see her GP but so far she has refused, but will keep trying. So glad your own child has recovered from this horrible condition.
Hi Bridie, how are you doing, was Christmas ok?
Christmas was a mixture of good times and bad times. Bad when my daughter blamed me for the stress that is causing her eating disorder - bad when she texted me to let me know just how sick she was being - and moments of hope when she had a few days away and enjoyed herself and said she had managed not to be sick. It's very bad again now. She is still refusing to see her GP. That makes me impatient and I can't always hide it. Then I feel doubly guilty.
Oh Bridie, please don't feel guilty, you are experiencing what I and probably many parents face when they are caring for someone so firmly in the grips of an Eating Disorder, it is not possible to make them do anything that they don't want to and they can be just so nasty. Try to hold on to my reassurances that it will pass. Is there anyone that you can enrol to help you? dose she still meet up with her friends is there one of them who might be able to convince her to seek help? or a grand parent or auntie - sometimes we are just too close and we make very good kicking posts.
It is good to hear that she enjoyed her days away, will she talk about that will that calm her down and give you a chance to talk more calmly? I wonder what she is really fearful about? maybe she doesn't even know. But please be assured there is no blame for you, she would really fall apart if she didn't have your reassurance. I remember once when my daughter was being threatened with expulsion from the ED unit for no weight gain, I just said to her" I cant do this any more," I meant it, but it pulled her up, there wasn't an immediate transformation but I think that it is just trying to get them to see that you are there but it is not easy without giving them yet another excuse to be horrible to themselves about. how horrible they are. Have you read to the end of the diet and exercise leaflet accessible through the homepage - it details how a binging cycle becomes so difficult to stop, I don't know it might give you some ideas. Be kind to yourself x